I have seen so many positive reviews and hype around this book, I couldn’t wait to dive in! It was hyped up, it was the first book I picked up during my vacation and I was so excited to read it. While I did like it, it definitely didn’t live up to the hype I was seeing about it and I’m actually kind of disappointed.
Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of The Nature of Witches in exchange for an honest review. This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
Published: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Fantasy
For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.
In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.
In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.
In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.
In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.
Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.
First and foremost, the central issue in this book is climate change. Specifically, human made climate change. If you have any strong feelings about that topic, just be warned that it is the central focus. Personally, I know that humans have a direct impact on the environment and the current catastrophes and anomalies we’re facing are a result of rapid industrialization and consumerism. Basically – humans didn’t create climate change, but we sure as hell made it worse.
If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. But it doesn’t change the fact that this book talks about that and takes the stance that humans are the direct cause for worsening climate change and direct damage to the Earth.
Our main character, Clara, is an Everwitch, or a witch who can tap into each seasonal magic as the Earth makes it trek around the sun. In the summertime, she is a summer witch, and can harness the powers of a summer witch. But when the autumnal equinox hits and summer magic fades into autumn magic, she becomes an autumn witch. Being an Ever means you’re more powerful than any seasonal witch, but Clara is the only one, and it has its price. Since her power is so moved by the seasons, so is her personality and her life. Summer is the height for romance, but autumn leaves her feeling sullen and dull. And it means that anyone close to her is at risk of her powers.
Clara has already experienced great loss because of her power – accidentally killing her parents and her best friend Nikki. Her power seeks out those she loves, which means she has to keep everyone at a distance. But that changes when Sang arrives.
Honestly, this book wasn’t bad. I liked the commentary on climate change and the fact that the author brings hope if we can work together to reverse the effects. The world is interesting and the characters were okay. Clara, understandably, is kind of reserved and almost whiny. If by whiny, I mean constantly anxious that she is going to hurt someone and pushes people away to avoid that situation. But over time, it started to become annoying. I found myself sympathizing with her less and less as she continues to isolate herself and not even try to find a way to work it out with the people it might affect.
And that was something that really bothered me about Clara as a person – she’s so focused on protecting the people she loves that she fails to include them in the conversation. It’s always her decision, her need to protect, her choice in the matter, and she fails to allow the other person to make a decision for themselves.
Honestly, the biggest disappointment with this book is the lagging plot line. I could enjoy the emotional journey Clara goes on, but it terms of action and plot, it’s pretty lacking. There were some intense action moments, but they last a paragraph or two, and it just felt too short. From the reviews I’d been reading, this book sounded way more intense and action filled than it actually was. And the romance wasn’t as intense as some said it was. Was there conflict and pressure on their relationship? Yes, but that didn’t mean the romance was intense or worth noting. Sang was sweet and seemed like a good guy, but the moments we see between them are soft and sweet. Not super emotional like it was described.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad book. There were some things that I liked about it, but it didn’t fit the vibe that I was going for. This is a more relaxed book with some moments of intensity, but not the intense, emotional rollercoaster I was promised. I wanted something more whirlwind and this book wasn’t that. All in all, good story, good introspective journey, but wasn’t what I was promised.